The red variety comes from Spain. There are about 50 synonyms, the most important of which are grouped alphabetically by country (other main names in bold) Criolla, Criolla 6, Criolla Chica, Criolla Peru, Uva Negra, Uva Negra Vino(Argentina); Negra Antigua, País, Uva Chica Negra, Uva del País, Uva Negra, Uva Tinta, Viña Blanca, Viña Negra(Chile); Creole Petite, Printanier Rouge(France); California, El Paso, Mission, Mission's Grape(California); Hariri, Hariri Noir(Morocco); El Paso, Misión(Mexico); Negra Corriente, Negra Corriente ICA, Negra Corriente Majes, Negra Corriente Tacna, Negra Peruana, Rosa del Perú (Peru); Listrão(Madeira and Portugal); Almuñeco, Comun des las Palmas, Forastero Negro, Moscatel Negro, Palomina Negra(Canary Islands and Spain).
The etymological meaning of "Listán" is unclear; the Portuguese "prieto" means "dark" or "black". The descent (parentage) of the variety is unknown, possibly the parents are already extinct. Despite numerous synonyms or morphological similarities that seem to indicate this, it should not be confused with the Jacquez, Listán Negro or Negramoll varieties. It is also not a colour mutation of the two white varieties Listán de Huelva or Palomino (with synonyms Listán Blanco, Listán Comun, Listan de Jerez), although a close genetic relationship is suspected with the latter.
Listán Prieto is one of the most important leading varieties, grown under different names in many countries of South America, as well as in Mexico, California and New Mexico. According to numerous DNA analyses, presumably natural crosses (probably in Argentina) between Listán Prieto x Muscat d'Alexandrie have resulted in the varieties Black Prince, Blanca Oval (see Blanca Ovoide), Cereza, Criolla Grande, Moscatel Amarillo, Pedro Giménez, Torrontés Riojano and Torrontés Sanjuanino. These varieties are therefore included in the Criolla group. It was also a parent of the Jaén Tinto, Perruno, Quebranta and Verdejo de Salamanca varieties. A previously suspected relationship with the Italian Monica Nera has been proven wrong.
The variety, which originates from Castile-La Mancha, was described as early as 1513 by the agronomist Gabriel Alonso de Herrera (1470-1539) under the name Palomina Negra. Around 1540, Spanish Franciscan monks brought the variety to Mexico, where they founded several missions. From the variety now known as Misión, the indispensable mass wine was made. Whether this was the first European Vitis vinifera in Mexico is not certain, as this is also attributed to the Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortez (1485-1547), who had appeared there some 20 years earlier and had also brought vines with him. It was not until more than 200 years later, in 1769, that the vine arrived in California from Mexico through the Franciscan monk Junipero Serra (1713-1784) and was now called a mission here.
In the middle of the sixteenth century it was introduced in rapid succession by Spanish colonists in Peru, Chile and Argentina, where it was the most important grape variety until the 19th century, before it was slowly replaced by the European varieties. In the middle of the sixteenth century it reached the Canary Islands (or, according to another interpretation, from there to South America) and was confusingly called Moscatel Negro, although it is not related to any Muscat variety. In 1629 the misión was cultivated in the Rio Grande valley in southern New Mexico by Catholic missionaries. It was the first successfully cultivated European variety in North America, as earlier attempts had failed there due to phylloxera.
The vigorous and very productive vine is resistant to drought, but susceptible to Pierce disease and root gall. Individual grapes can reach a weight of up to four kilograms. The light red berries produce simple rosé or dark white wines, which are bottled for mass consumption in Tetra Paks, tubular containers and large bottles. These wines are often blended with brightly coloured red wines. However, due to increasing quality demands, stocks are declining very strongly everywhere.
In Spain it was almost exterminated by phylloxera in the 19th century. However, it is still cultivated in the Canary Islands on about 30 hectares. In 1985, Chile still accounted for more than 40% of the total area, but today, with 3,869 hectares, it is only about 4%. There are further populations in Argentina (423 ha), California (265 ha) and Peru (7 ha). In 2010, the variety occupied a total of 4,564 hectares of vineyard area with an extremely downward trend (in 2000 it was still 15,532 hectares). It thus reached 116th place in the worldwide grape variety ranking.
Source: Wine Grapes / J. Robinson, J. Harding, J. Vouillamoz / Penguin Books Ltd. 2012
Pictures: Ursula Brühl, Doris Schneider, Julius Kühn Institute (JKI)